Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Inhabits margins, pools and backwaters of creeks and small to medium rivers. Most commonly found in shallow sandy backwaters of clean rocky creeks. 12 cm max TL (Ref. 5723). Not a seasonal killifish (Ref. 27139).
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Distribution

Range Description

This species range includes the Tallapoosa River system (Mettee et al. 1996, Boschung and Mayden 2004). The species is widespread in the Tallapoosa River system but may be quite rare locally (Cashner et al. 1988). Most of the known range is in Alabama and much of the population is restricted to the upper Tallapoosa River system. This species may have an extent of occurrence less than 5,000 km².
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Global Range: (1000-20,000 square km (about 400-8000 square miles)) Range includes the Tallapoosa River system of Georgia and Alabama, and Sofkahatchee Creek (a westward flowing tributary of the lower Coosa River system of Alabama) (Mettee et al. 1996, Boschung and Mayden 2004, Page and Burr 2011). The species is widespread in the Tallapoosa River system but may be quite rare locally (Cashner et al. 1988). Most of the known range is in Alabama.

Extent of occurrence may be less than 5,000 square kilometers.

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North America: Tallapoosa River system in Georgia and Alabama, USA; and Sofkahatchee Creek (lower Coosa River system) in Alabama.
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endemic to a single nation

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Southeastern U.S.A.: Georgia and Alabama.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 105 mm TL
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Max. size

12.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5723))
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Length: 9 cm

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This fish occurs over sand and gravel in margins, pools, and backwaters of creeks and small to medium rivers. It seems to be most abundant in shallow sandy backwaters of clean, free-flowing, medium-sized creeks (Cashner et al. 1988, Page and Burr 1991, Mettee et al. 1996, Boschung and Mayden 2004).

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Habitat Type: Freshwater

Comments: This fish occurs over sand and gravel in margins, pools, and backwaters of creeks and small to medium rivers; it seems to be most abundant in shallow sandy backwaters of clean, free-flowing, medium-sized creeks (Cashner et al. 1988, Mettee et al. 1996, Boschung and Mayden 2004, Page and Burr 2011).

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Environment

benthopelagic; non-migratory; freshwater
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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20

Comments: Mettee et al. (1996) and Boschung and Mayden mapped 20-21 collection sites representing perhaps 12-15 distinct occurrences (subpopulations).

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Global Abundance

Unknown

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown. Page and Burr (2011) described this species as locally common, whereas Boschung and Mayden (2004) stated that the species is "uncommon in many areas" and "its numbers are usually few at any given site."

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Spawns probably in late spring and early summer (Mettee et al. 1996).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
NatureServe (G. Hammerson)

Reviewer/s
Walsh, S.J. (Freshwater Fish Red List Authority), Collen, B., Dewhurst, N. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Fundulus bifax has been assessed as Near Threatened. This species is largely restricted to the upper Tallapoosa River system with an extent of occurrence of approximately 5,000 km². The restricted range of this species makes it particularly vulnearble to threats occuring within its range including alteration of the hydrological regime, and encroaching development. Further research is needed to assess the rate of population decline.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G2 - Imperiled

Reasons: Small range in the Tallapoosa River system, Alabama and Georgia, and the lower Coosa River system, Alabama; generally uncommon and poorly known.

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Population

Population
Mettee et al. (1996) and Boschung and Mayden (2004) mapped 20–21 collection sites representing perhaps 12–15 distinct subpopulations.

Total adult population size is unknown. Page and Burr (1991) described this species as locally common, whereas Boschung and Mayden (2004) stated that the species is "uncommon in many areas" and "its numbers are usually few at any given site."

Trends are unknown.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%

Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but probably relatively stable or slowly declining.

Global Long Term Trend: Unknown

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Threats

Major Threats
This species is likely to be impacted by threats upon its habitat and the flow regime of rivers and streams such as reservoirs, sediments (and other non-point sources), conversion of agricultural lands to urban corridors, severe droughts, and water abstraction (S.J. Walsh 2008 pers. comm.). The upper Tallapoosa River system is undergoing habitat degradation due to upland development, stream impoundment and altertion of the hydrological regime (Storey 2003). Due to the restricted range of this species, these could pose a significant future potential threat to the population of this species.
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Degree of Threat: Unknown

Comments: Impoundments and degradation of water quality in streams presumably pose some level of threat.

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Near Threatened (NT)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Further research is required on the threats faced by this species to determine how they are impacting the global population. Monitoring of the population numbers and distribution range of this species is needed to identify any threatened subpopulations.
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Biological Research Needs: The biology and status of this species are poorly known.

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Wikipedia

Stippled Studfish

The Stippled studfish (Fundulus bifax) is a small freshwater fish which is endemic to the Tallapoosa River system in Georgia and Alabama, USA; and Sofkahatchee Creek (lower Coosa River system) in Alabama. It belongs to the genus Fundulus in the Fundulidae family of killifish and topminnows.

References[edit source | edit]

  • Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2010). "Fundulus bifax" in FishBase. January 2010 version.
  • "Stippled Studfish". Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin. Outdoor Alabama. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  • Cashner, R.C., J.S. Rogers and J.M. Grady 1988 Fundulus bifax, a new species of the subgenus Xenisma from the Tallapoosa and Coosa river systems of Alabama and Georgia. Copeia (3):674-683.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Fundulus bifax formerly was included in F. stellifer; bifax is separable from stellifer by complete allelic differences at several loci and by details of pigmentation and breeding coloration (Rogers and Cashner 1987, Cashner et al. 1988). Allozyme data indicate that F. bifax is the sister to F. catenatus and that F. stellifer forms the sister group to the F. bifax-F. catenatus clade (Cashner et al. 1992).

The genus Fundulus was removed from Atheriniformes:Cyprinodontidae and placed in Cyprinodontiformes:Fundulidae by Parenti (1981); pending confirmation based on other character suites, this change was not accepted in the 1991 AFS checklist (Robins et al. 1991). See Wiley (1986) for a study of the evolutionary relationships of Fundulus topminnows based on morphological characters. See Cashner et al. (1992) for an allozyme-based phylogenetic analysis of the genus Fundulus .

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